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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 26, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EST

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convention. this one has country music added and it has glenn beck. his 912 project is a way a lot of these guys get into the movement. it's a way to give a speech and not take many questions. >> thank you very much for your time tonight. >> thank you so much. >> that will have to do it for this friday's edition of "countdown." good evening, rachel. thank you for staying with us for the next hour. once upon a time, democrats said they wanted health reform passed. then by thanksgiving. then by christmas. then by new year's. then the state of the union.
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as of today, new deadline. democratic senator tom harkin announcing -- there you have it. easter. april 4th. mark your calendars. you might want to do it in pencil though. democrats are pledging to have health care wrapped up in five e weeks and maybe they mean it. republicans are making it easy for democrats now by make iing as clear as it can be that no matter what, they are not voting for health reform. not even for their own ideas on health reform. they now believe their own ideas on health reform are offensive and unconstitutional. they are now opposed to themselves. take republican senator, chuck
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grassley. during yesterday's summit with a president, said this. >> the high cost of this bill comes from an unconstitutional mandate. it comes from the fact that for the first time in the 225-year history of the country, the federal government's telling you you got to buy something. >> the individual mandate, he says, is unconstitutional. unconstitutional according to to senator grassley. right, senator grassley? >> i believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates. i think individual mandates are more apt to be accepted by a vast majority of people in congress. >> the lead republican senator on health reform is opposed to his own position on health reform. even if you wanted to compromise with this man, and why would
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you, where would you start? which of his two faces would you talk to? when he endorsed the individual mandate in health care last year, it wasn't some misstatement on his part. wasn't some trick question, some momentary lapse in attention. on page 238 of the republican bill, quote, individual mandates, in all caps. the secretary shall make recommendations under paragraph one -- senator grassley was for the mandate. he was for it well into this current round. but now, he is not only against
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it, he thinks it's unconstitutional. we called his office today to find out which of the senators two faces speaks for him now. so far, staff members for neither face have returned our calls. the brave stance against himself is not enough to convince democrats there's no point in waiting for republicans. if that's not enough, then consider that republicans are just flatout admitting as much now. point-blank. >> if the american people want us to scrap this bill, they've said it loud. they've said it clear. >> we know how they feel about it. this is not a close call. >> our country is too big, too complicated. too decentralized for washington. a few of us here just to write a few rules about remaking 17% of the economy all at once. that sort of thinking works in
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the classroom, but not in our big, complicated country. >> the country is too big. it's too complicated to go anything about this problem. that's the message from republicans now. it's not a matter of subjective presepgs. it's rather a truth that republicans have no sense of urgency whatsoever about there being anything wrong the health care. they have no desire of how to fix it. meanwhile, the front page of the "san francisco chronicle" -- the insurer blue shield is notifying some of its customers that their rates could go up more than 75%. you'll recall that anthem blue cross announced its plans to hike rates by 39%. well now, small businesses here are looking at 75% plus hikes. 75. and it's 56% rate hikes in
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michigan. 40% in virginia. 23% rate hikes in maine. do you want to wait around for chuck grassley to find his third face? to find something else he said he's forand now against? do you want to wait around to hear more republicans say it's too hard to do something about that and besides that, the system's great the way it is. is there any further reason to wait? joining us now, ezra klein, staff writer for the "washington post." i do not know if you are a betting guy, but if you were a betting guy, would you bet that we'd have health reform by easter? >> i have learned not to make bets about health care reform. certainly not on the timing of it. it's a bit unclear what they're saying the deadline is. even if they began tomorrow in
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earnest, there are a number of obstacl obstacles. this won't be quick one way or the oh, but i agree that democrats need to get moving on it. >> health insurance companies are playing sort of an unexpected role. we know they're not stupid. they must know that raising rates by these dramatic amounts can only help people who support reform. what is this 75% rate hike say about the state of the health insurance industry? >> it says this is what the business model is. over here, there's politics going on. they know that and don't want to get hurt in it. but they don't think this is bad because for them, it really isn't. it's what they have to do to survive. to have quarterly earning reports, right? what's going on with these groups is that they find people an give them insurance and it turns out these people were sicker than they thought. they said what we were paying
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out in claims was more than we were making. they've got to get rid of the people making those claims. they're the people who are sick, the people who need health care. it's to give e them an opportunity to compete as if they were not bad people. by going on price and quality and not trying to find the healthiest people. the fact they're raising rates in the middle of this process just goes to show how normal this is. how if we don't do health care reform, that will continue on. >> what you just described is where the politics and policy come together. politically, it is absolutely incredible to me to see chuck grassley on health reform do this blatant 180 on the mandate. he's supported it for almost two decades now. but even as he has realized there might be better politics in being against the mandate,
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even he recognized that that had to be part of reform. >> he has a 2010 primary challenge. you see this happen with chris, with all of them. in 1993, this emerged because what democrats wanted was an employer mandate. we are going to do personal responsibility. here we are, 2010, saying fine, no employer mandate. individual mandate, personal responsibility. suddenly, it becomes not just a bad idea, but literally unconstitutional. massachusetts has an individual mandate. scott brown spoupports that.
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do people think he hates the constitution? >> incredible. ezra, during yesterday's summit, lamar alexander said, this country is too big and too complicated to try to reform health care. i felt if you didn't have enough time to watch all seven hours, that was the crystal moment. this is hard. we don't really want to do it. stop asking us about which way we could do it. >> i spoke to senator alexander about this a couple of weeks ago. he's thought very hard about it. he was a cosponsor of widen and bennett, a much bigger bill. but then when the democrats are trying to pass a health care bill, people realize, we don't
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do comprehensive well. it's not them saying you don't have a good bill and here's a better way. we shouldn't do this. not this bill, but this problem. that when you're in power at the very least, problems should not be involved. large legislation should not be. that's in some ways, a very strong move. republicans have created a scenario in which is idea logically extreme. there's no available compromise between those two positions between wanting to do something on this and not wanting to. you want me to regulate differently. we can talk about that. but if the problem is you don't want me to do the thing i got elected to do, that's much harder for barack obama to compromise with the reasons on. >> it should at least be a point of clarify trt democrats in termss of how they're going to be able to move forward. ezra klein, thank you as always.
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on the interview tonight, it is gavin newsom here with me. plus, there is a brand new, antiobama conspiracy theory that i have to say might be the best yet. i even think it's better than the one about interpol becoming his secret international communist police force. there's a new one better than all of those. sir? finding everything okay? i work for a different insurance company. my auto policy's just getting a little too expensive. with progressive, you get the "name your price" option, so we build a policy to fit your budget. wow! the price gun. ♪ ah! wish we had this. we'd just tell people what to pay. yeah, we're the only ones that do.
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100,000 in massachusetts. 25,000 in vermont. 11,000 in new jersey. so once again, the most powerful nation in the world has such decrypt infrastructure that we're shivering in the dark because it snowed in the winter like it does every single year.
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there's something very big and disturbing going on at the defense department right now. the part of the defense department in charge of trying to figure out how to shoot down mi
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missiles. they have a new go. this low go is a scary, dangerous, bad for america logo. the guy who employs james o'keefe has the scoop on his website. mr. gaffeny points out what you might not have noticed about the new logo which is that it appears to reflect a morphing of the islamic crescent and star with a obama campaign logo. he calls it -- but the president's secret submission to islam is not the only really scary thing revealed in the new logo. "the washington times" notes
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that it bears resemblance to the iranian space agency. thanks goodness fox news has been on top of the story for days now. >> check out these two. one from the u.s. missile defense agency, one from the 2008 obama campaign. >> they're defending the use of a new logo. check out the new symbol on the left. it looks like obama's campaign from 2008. missile defense agency says it was developed almost three years ago. okay. >> the administration is defending its use of a new logo. the organization's official seal is on the left. the new logo is on the right. "the washington times" reports the new symbol looks strangely
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similar obama's campaign o. >> now, even cnn is investigating this. >> there's a lot of buzz on the internet this morning about the new logo being used. some think that the circular red, white and blue design looks like president obama's campaign logo. others were critical of the crescent and star look. >> is he okay? this is mainstream scary. i want answers. what could possibly explain this? who is responsible for this terrible anti-american logo of evil? it is the george w. bush administration. telling "the washington post" --
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adding that it was chosen because it was cheaper. because it's three colors as opposed to the five colors on the official logo. so maybe it's not an logo that's trying to destroy america and freedom. disappointing. sorry. but the missile defense agency logo story may be important here because it is sort of a perfect little window in the political mind set of the right wing. t"the washington times" is a rel newspaper. frank gaffney is booked on political shows all the time. he signed the original statement
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of principles. he's considered a fairly mainstream american conservative right now and he is promoting the latest antiobama conspiracy theory that is so unbelievable, that it could be debunked by a fourth grader with one spare minute and access to google. i kept thinking they had hit bottom with death penls, but it turns out the deaths of the conspiratorial hysteria have yet to be plumed in this country. joining us now is chris hayes. thank you so much for coming on the show and lending me your hat. >> yeah. just call me chris the plumber. >> is there something about this kind of conspiracy in particular that appeals to the right wing in this country? >> yeah. this is actually a backbone of sort of right wing populous
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conspiracy. the main propagator is the john birch society. dave weigel has done a lot of reporting on this. but there's this narrative of the stabbed in the back narrative in which america faces these enemies that are intending to bring it down. presumably, they would direct their forces at something more important than the logo at an obscure agency, but remember the thing that brought down mccartney was that he said there were communist workings in the department of defense. this notion that they're everywhere is a real long, enduring part of the kind of right wing, paranoid imagination. >> sometimes, these conspiracy theorys an not just holding them, but actually voicing them,
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gets you expelled. and right now, there isn't anybody doing the expelling. the john birch society was back sponsoring cpac. frank gaffney is considered to be a mainstream guy. we were looking for fox news sound bites about this. there isn't any purging of the fridge here anymore. >> it's essentially columnized. ideas that used to be whacky, what's more, because of the vessel of fox news, which can perform thiss, the amount of th audience reach that something like this can get is stupendous. you think about someone who is
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in their kitchen making dinner and has fox news on in the other room, they're not going to necessarily get media matters debunking. they're just hearing filtered in the background that obama has chosen some islamic symbol for the missile defense agency and that kind of stuff sticks. >> is there a way to respond to conspiracy theorys? i'm asked this question a million times in the past year, going back to the crazyness to the 2008 election, mccain-palin campaign rallies. the propond rens of them throughout the campaign, through obama's first year, how do you get rid of them? >> first of all, you debunk them factually. you go to the person at the missile defense agency, and you run that. that's not enough. you'd like that to that as jon
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stewart mills said -- in these cases, you need to keep banging on about it. but the more you do, the more that stupid logo -- at the same time, you can't ignore it. i think ridicule and satire is the most effective. they're just not going to treat this with anything at all. >> i'm with you, chris, and i feel protected, at least from these transmissions as long as i have adequate equipment. >> i was hoping you were going to do the interview in it. >> in my mind, i did. chris hayes, washington editor of "the nation" and as always, a good sport. >> thank you. enjoy california. tonight on the interview, a
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hand the gavel to nancy pelosi and apply her san francisco values. this congress is charked by san francisco values.
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>> mayor is a very far left guy. >> i spoke to you right now from the great city of san francisco. and although i speak to you from a darkened room with a fake backdrop behind me, i assure you this is the single most beautiful city in the country and i say that with growing up here. the minimum wage is $9.79 an hour. the mayor said in 2005 that he wanted all the people in this city who didn't have insurance, to have access to health care any way. they started meeting to see how that could be done. they did it. if your family income is five times the poverty level or below, if you don't equal for
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medicaid or medicare, if you're a san francisco resident, you can get medical care. it's not insurance. it's a coordinated program to let folks have access to health care. san francisco also has preschool for all and -- hear that? you san francisco, you 4-year-olds. you're good to go. san francisco's not immune from the nation's troubles. the murder rate in the city is as low as its been since the 1960s. san francisco is lower than that. 9.4%. it is a favored sport of our come patriots on the political
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right to attack san francisco as if it's some sort of mourning. like warning someone not to fall in love because there's a risk they might end up happily ever after. >> i'm missing my favorite show. are you running for mayor? is that what happens? >> i'm running for booster in chief. >> the photo of you with that hat may disqualify. >> that's a good point. >> we want a mayor that's protected from the transmissions. >> public option, alive and well in san francisco. just left city hall. the american flag has been flying. >> when you hear in political terms, san francisco, does the shorthand you don't even need to
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explain. do you feel it's a tourism board advertisement? >> it's the birthplace of the united nations, one of the most dynamic, economic cities in the united states and arguably, the most creative workforces. a city that is always on the leading and cutti inting edge o ideas. we also have universal afterschool. we've seen seven years in a row of improved test scores. we even put salad bars into our public schools to focus on wellness and prevention. and focussing on reducing costs by getting smart about that kind of investment. this is a city that has paid
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sick leave ordnance. this is the city with a local, earned income tax credit. our rating is among the highest of any big city in the state of california. we have two-year budget cycles, ten-year capital plans. fiscal policies. we're not immune to macro economic challenges. we've got a budget deficit this year, but we're a fiscally prudent city. >> the city also has term limits and so, even if you want -- >> the future exmayor is sitting with you. >> you would be terms on january of 2011. if you could run again, would you if there weren't term limits? >> i think two years is plenty, but my friend mayor bloomberg had a different idea. this is a town that doesn't like to dislike its mayors. it loves to hate its mayors.
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somehow, i survived re-election. i think the city's ready to look for new leadership though. i am pretty passionate about this job. we are city and county, so do a lot of things other mayors can't do. i'm able to take risks. we're able to advance issues on civil and human rights. we're able to take risks on health care policies. there's not a city in this country that's doing more on the environment, maybe portland, oregon, but no other city that's been more aggressive on environmental stewardship. we're bringing people together. >> well, you have filed the paperwork to run for lieutenant governor in this state. that doesn't mean that you have decla declared. i agree with the common wisdom that the california state government is in running for the
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worst state government in this country. it's got competition. what do you think is wrong with california state government? why would you want to be part of that? >> fundamentally, structural. you've got get 2/3 to get anything passed. governor schwarzenegger can't carry many republicans, let alone any democrats. you ha even a budget. you have a problem with term li limits. you've got problems, we don't have rainy day reserves, two-year budgets, strong fiscal frameworks. so, there's a structural
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problem. in addition to that, we have an absence of ideas. i always say, the best politics is absence of idea. >> if you think that you've got good ideas for a state government, that's one thing. but if it's preventing people from getting anything passed, then why join that? >> instead of being on the sidelines, instead of walking away. instead of saying, well, actually, i don't want to get involved and do the hard work. i want to sit back an relax. i'd rather get in the mix. i'd rather focus on ways we can leverage what we've done. they said it was impossible to create health care. we proved we can do it. it was impossible to recruit an reta retain businesses in this environment. i'd like to think the 57 other counties in state will take
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those examples and we can take their examples. >> the last time we talked was in april. >> yes. >> it was the first interview you did. >> i sound like a politician. this is horrible. i do. >> it's always, are you going to run. >> that's what happens when you're termed out. i have restaurants and hotels. so i can go back to work there. >> you did decide you were going to run for governor. why didn't you get any traction? >> because i had a brand new baby. >> you're blaming the baby. >> she's so cute. last night, she kept me up. she's too young to understand. she's only five months. she's perfect. what a horrible thing, i said. this is not live, is it? you told me it was taped. give me the hat. it was a combination of all those factors at home. i've got 6,000 people
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contributing to the campaign. i was running against a brand unlike any other in the state of california. i was having a hard time raising a amount of money i need to raise to put a good fight against former governor brown, but also to go up against meg whitman, who's already put $39 million of her own money and will put in 100 to $150 million in the general. i thought about the sacrifice and there was tho way i could do all of that. >> and san francisco, not yet decided on whether he's running. >> it's good to see you. come out more often. and more of those introductions. >> i knew it was going to make you squeamish. nice to see you. political cookyness aside, we had an outstanding week. shaun white on the half pipe outstanding.
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because doing something unethical and ought to be illegal once, the republican national committee has sent a second let eer that's designed to look like an official census bureau mailer. it complained the first time. but here it is again. here's the misleading threatening envelope it comes in. do not destroy. process immediately. even though no one has compelled to process immediately. in michael steele's letter, the word census with a capital "c" appears 12 times. on the first page, it appears seven times. proving their not also unethical, but clueless. they sent one of those to me and
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did you hear what they did in the south dakota legislation? the house of representatives has passed a resolution urging public school to teach kids about climate change in a very specific way. i'm quoting here -- i think -- also, could we put the second part up there? maybe it keeps getting hotter
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every year. the south dakota house of representatives is urging schools to teach that astrology might explain climate change. it's in the stars. also, therm lodgical. this resolution actually passed. they voted on it. which puts the south dakota house of representatives in the running for the most idiotic thing in the news all week. there is competition though from congressman trent franks of arizona, who told mike starks that black people in america were better off under slavery than they are in america today. because you know, abortion is legal now and stuff. >> in this country, we had slavery. now we look back on it and say, how blind were they. this is incredible and we're
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right. we should look back on that. it is a crushing, yet today, half of all black children -- far more black children, for more a being devastated by the policies of today than by the policies of slavery. >> for more of the african-american community is being devastated by the policies of today than by the policies of slavery. congressman trent franks of arizona entoning how much better off we were under slavery. there is competition for the most humiliating thing in the news all week. and there is more competition. from -- there are 3/4 of the republicans in the house are birthers. they have voted to try to force barack obama to show them for his re-election campaign in
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arizona, they demand to see the president's birth certificate, which is right here on the screen actually. though i'm sure they won't count that because i am obviously a communist kenyan from the missile defense agency. this is one kooky guy. this is 40 of the 90 legislators in the house in arizona. it passed the house committee already. how do we choose among these? the competition for the single most humiliatingly idiotic thing in the news all week was so fierce this week. the competition is so fierce this week, there is even a person who is in the running for not a single humiliatingly idiotic thing but for the accumulated humiliating idiocy of his whole being. i understand we have tmi on someone tonight. >> yes. hi, rachel. you know how some politicians have a filter on what they say. iowa congressman steve king doesn't have one of those. take a look. what could possibly be scarier than stephen king?
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>> who are we up against? and i want to define that enemy. they are liberals. they are progressives. they are che and socialites, more enemy. grahamites, troskyites, leninists marxists. >> how about iowa's early conservative congressman stephen arnold steve king? in his seven years representing iowa's fifth district one thing has become chillingly clear. steve king will say anything. >> my wife here lives here with me and i can tell you mr. speaker she's in far great being a civilian in washington, d.c. than an average civilian in iraq. >> i'd ask you are you prepared to level the same charges against fergie and j. lo or apologize to rush limbaugh today? it's sad that it happened down in texas. by the same token, the irs is an
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agency that's unnecessary. >> reporter: propriety, restraint, what are these compared to steve king's relentless siege against all things not steve king? like immigrants or should i say cattle? >> we can also electrify this wire with the kind of current that wouldn't kill somebody but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. we do that with livestock all the time. >> cujo? >> reporter: other targets, president barack obama, al qaeda and dancing. especially in the streets. >> i will tell you if he is elected president that the radical islamists, the al qaeda and the radical islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on september 11th. >> reporter: steve king voted against relief funding for hurricane katrina, telling the hill newspaper it was the best vote he ever cast.
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king was the sole nay vote on the house resolution acknowledging the use of slave labor in the construction of the united states capitol. he said the children's health care bill schip stood for socialized clinton style hillary care for illegals and their parents. still, there are things steve king likes. and those are creepy, too. king voted against increasing penalties for dogfighting and cockfighting. on nuclear power, king said, quote, by the way, if you had been chained to the reactor at three mile island when it started its reactivity, you would have gotten about the equivalent dose of an x-ray. and he called witch-hunting senator joe mccarthy a hero for america. >> look at me! >> reporter: one final scary thought, steve king's not finished. >> i'm making no plans to run for president. i didn't make any plans to run for congress either.
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>> here's johnny! >> thank you, kent. much appreciated. ah! >> ah! >> coming up on "countdown" glenn beck and sarah palin get ready to share the stage at a take back our country event. next on our show our frequent guest melanie sloan is the recipient of one extremely valuable package she totally didn't want or expect. ons ] [ engine revs ] [ indistinct conversations ] [ tiresqueal ] [ indistinct conversations ] [ engine revs ] [ glass sttering ] [ tires screech ] [ male annocer ] taking its rightful place in a long line of amazing performance machines. this is the 2010 e-coupe. this is mercedes-benz.
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yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount! are you going to buy online? yes! discount! isn't getting discounts great? yes! there's no discount for agreeing with me. yeah, i got carried away. happens to me all the time. helping you save money -- now, that's progressive. call or click today. on monday night, pellney sloan is home making dinner for her family. she's the director of c.r.e.w. she's been a guest a few times. a little after 6:00 monday night making dinner and fedex drops off a box on her front step. her husband opens the box and finds inside another cardboard box all taped up. inside that another one this
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time styrofoam all taped up. inside that blown-in insulation. inside that he finds a big ball of is a ran wrap. inside that a big ball of duct tape. inside that he finds more is a ran wrap. inside that he finds coffee grounds? >> when we opened the box we noticed there was another box inside. inside of that was a lot of insulation. so as soon as i started seeing that, i was pretty nervous and didn't want to open it but my husband was very persistent and eventually we opened up the plastic wrap and saw coffee grounds. that's when i knew it was drugs. >> drugs. aha. like most americans, melanie sloan doesn't generally receive ground coffee in is a ran wrap. unlike her she's a former assistant u.s. attorney so she knew exactly what was going to be inside the layer of coffee. turns out to be 33 pounds of pot wrapped in coffee to throw off drug-sniffing dogs. she then called 911. >> w